A Bookstore Turned ‘Travel Agency’; Chewy Celebrates Very Good Pets: Friday’s First Things First

Plus, departures and new strategies at holding companies WPP and Publicis Groupe

Picture of a beach with text that says,
Dallas bookstore The Wild Detectives surprised fans by becoming a travel agency, but not all was as it seemed. Dieste
Headshot of Jess Zafarris

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A Bookstore Shocked Fans and Boosted Sales 200% With Its Brilliant Quarantine Pivot

After Dallas bookstore and café The Wild Detectives had to close due to the pandemic, it worked with agency partner Dieste to transform itself into an online business. Together they built the Book a Trip website, which on first glance appears to be a travel-booking site. Instead of returning ticket prices, though, searching for destinations reveals books for sale that were written about each city.

Watch: The project includes a series of fun videos enticing readers to “travel” to new destinations via its books.

Chewy Reminds Us That Amid All the Bad, Pets Are Very Good

A new spot from online pet product retailer Chewy, produced remotely with help from creative agency SpecialGuest, aims to celebrate all the happiness and levity that comes from owning a pet. One of most uplifting trends of the past few weeks has been the emptying out of animal shelters, which has led to a boost in sales for pet brands. Chewy has responded to this trend with a wave of donations and initiatives that support new pet owners.

Read more: That included donating more than $5 million in pet food, products and healthcare supplies to organizations and pet owners affected by the Covid-19 crisis.

NYT Cooking Is Inviting You to a Dinner Party on Instagram

NYT Cooking has embraced Instagram as a way to support home cooks during the pandemic, expanding its strategy to include a daily recipe and leaning more heavily on Instagram’s Stories feature, where it sees the highest levels of audience engagement. Content includes cooking videos with big names in food including Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat author Samin Nosrat, and it tends to be sensitive to the moment, with recipes requiring fewer ingredients or grocery store trips.

Read more: NYT Cooking isn’t changing its conversion strategy; it’s instead focusing gaining more followers to convert later.

Holding Company Updates: CCO John O’Keeffe Departs WPP, Publicis Groupe Introduces ‘The Pact’

John O’Keeffe is stepping down from his role as global CCO at WPP, CEO Mark Read announced just a day after WPP confirmed further cost-cutting measures in its Q1 earnings report. The news of O’Keeffe’s departure also follows the announcement earlier this week that Ogilvy CEO John Seifert will retire in 2021. You can read the internal memo announcing O’Keeffe’s departure here.

Publicis Groupe is launching The Pact, a business outcomes solution guaranteeing that digital marketing investments deliver on KPIs, with a refund if metrics aren’t met. The holding company said the solution, which aims to help struggling midsize businesses become “recovery ready” so they can rebound post-crisis, is not without risk, but it anticipates a 95% success rate.

Read more: Publicis Groupe is betting heavily on Epsilon, the data-marketing behemoth Publicis acquired last year for $4 billion.

Earnings Calls: Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, Alphabet

Amazon’s net income on sales was down year over year by $1.1 billion, but its Amazon Advertising division was the company’s strongest performer in Q1. The division’s quarterly revenues soared to the tune of 44% to $3.9 billion, outpacing growth in established business segments such as online sales (24%), subscription services (28%) and Amazon Web Services (33%). The unit continues to establish itself against larger ad rivals Facebook and Google. Read more on Amazon’s earnings here.

More earnings reports from the week:

  • Twitter beat earnings projections for the first quarter of 2020, led by 24% growth year over year in monetizable daily active users (mDAU)—or daily users who can view ads—and 3% revenue improvement (though still a net operating loss) during the same time period. Read more on Twitter’s earnings here.
  • For Facebook, some good news and bad news. Revenue in the first quarter rose 18% year over year; however, CPMs reportedly hit an all-time U.S. low in early April. Read more on Facebook’s earnings here.
  • Alphabet generated $41 billion in revenue in Q1 on the back of Google’s search arm, which accounted for more than $24 billion. YouTube ads chipped in another $4 billion in Q1. Read more on Alphabet’s earnings here.

More of Today’s Top News & Highlights

These Gun-Shaped Soaps Are Harrowing Reminders of 2 Ongoing Crises

As sales of toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other essentials have soared, so too have firearm sales. Activist group Change the Ref has been pushing for gun reform for years, but now has a new campaign created with Miami agency Alma to call attention to the trend and combat gun violence.

a gun-shaped soap

3 Ways Companies Are Encouraging Mental Health and Wellness During the Crisis

Rachel Spiegelman, President, Integrated Marketing, LRW Group

“We are repurposing our wellness initiatives—like yoga and meditation—to a virtual format so we can continue offering these services to employees (though unfortunately haven’t been able to make massages virtual yet!)”

Cathy Butler, Chief Executive Officer, Organic

“Beyond the wellness resources we have, we share daily care tips (via our own OrganicBot) to drink water, stay hydrated and to take eyeball breaks.”

TJ Leonard, CEO, Storyblocks

“Our leadership and meditation coach, Rashmi Nair-Ripley, who normally works on-site several days a week as a professional resource for staff, has added company-wide meditation sessions twice a week to handle the stress of this situation.”

More of the Latest


@JessZafarris jessica.zafarris@adweek.com Jess Zafarris is an audience engagement editor at Adweek.
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